As the year comes to a close, here's a look at some of Florida State University's top stories of 2012. Recognitions of student achievement and the celebration of a civil-rights milestone are among the highlights.
Florida State was recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education as a top producer of U.S. Fulbright students among American research institutions. What's more, FSU led the state in the number of students who received Fulbright fellowships for the 2012-2013 academic year. Twelve students — a record for the university — are traveling abroad this year to conduct research or teach after winning grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
Florida State also was ranked among the nation's top 25 universities for the number of students who studied abroad for 2010-2011 in the Institute of International Education's newly released 2012 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. FSU ranked No. 23 with 1,693 students studying abroad in 2010-2011.
Florida State was named among the most efficient of the nation's highest-ranked universities, according to a new list released Dec. 8 by U.S. News & World Report. Florida State topped the list of national universities — a significant accolade at a time when many public universities are struggling to provide exceptional educational experiences with fewer resources. The list recognizes universities that are able to produce the highest educational quality, as determined by their place in its "Best Colleges" rankings, but spend relatively less money to achieve that quality.
Integration's golden commemoration
Florida State commemorated its 50th anniversary of integration in April with several events, including a record-breaking, 1,500-person human chain designed to represent the legacy of the pioneering individuals who paved the way for the rich culture, diversity and opportunity that exists at the university today. The commemoration included a talk by celebrated poet Maya Angelou.
Student-veterans standing tall
Student-veterans led the effort to bring Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick and his critically acclaimed film "The Invisible War" to the 2nd Annual Student Veteran Film Festival in November. The event, the nation's only film festival devoted to raising awareness of veterans' issues, is intended to bridge the gap between veterans and the community.
In addition, the university hosted the inaugural Seminole Veteran Benefits Expo in May. The event included dialogue sessions aimed at enhancing university policy to better serve student-veterans. It also featured a veterans-resource exhibition.
The university also inaugurated a new tradition at its summer 2012 commencement to salute graduating student-veterans: red, white and blue honor cords.
Best and brightest freshman class
With the beginning of the fall 2012 semester, Florida State welcomed the Class of 2016. Statistically speaking, this year's nearly 6,000-member freshman class is among the brightest in the university's history. Of those first-time-in-college freshmen who were accepted into FSU for both the summer and fall, the average high-school grade point average was 4.0, with SAT scores averaging 1857 and an ACT composite score averaging 28.
Flexing research muscle
The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) at Florida State won a $38.6 million contract to help six Southeastern states and schools put the test results, coursework information, graduation statistics and other education-related data they collect to more effective use in helping students find academic success.
The College of Medicine, one of the nation's leading educators in geriatric medicine, earned another notable distinction in that field — home to the nation's top geriatrician of 2012.
Dr. Niharika Suchak, an associate professor in the Department of Geriatrics, was named Clinician of the Year by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). She received the award in May at the group's annual scientific meeting.
Building for the future
Florida State opened its Health and Wellness Center in August. The 170,000-square-feet building gives students on-campus access to advanced medical care. It also features classrooms and research laboratories, including a concussion clinic that will allow athletic training students to study the sports-related injury in a College of Medicine research project.
The university also opened its 18th residence hall in August. The six-story, 118,000-square-feet Traditions Hall features 276 beds in apartment-style rooms for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students.
And just in time for its 65th anniversary in April, the university's Flying High Circus introduced a new double-cupola tent.
Department and faculty rankings
The graduate program of the Department of Interior Design was named the most admired program of its kind in the country in a national survey of 122 deans and department chairs. DesignIntelligence, a respected industry journal of the Design Futures Council, lauded Florida State in its annual "America's Best Architectural and Design School 2013" rankings.
In addition, three faculty members of the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice — Kevin Beaver, Abigail Fagan and Brian Stults — were named among the nation's most productive criminology and criminal justice scholars, according to a study that uses academic rank to reveal both rising academic stars and the top stars overall. The study was published in the Journal of Criminal Justice Education.
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